May 15, 2014 Updated: May 15, 2014 at 9:02 pm
For the past two years, no 4A boys' swimming and diving team has been better than Air Academy.
The two-time and defending state champions and coach Scott Newell are looking to keep it that way this weekend as the Kadets eye a third consecutive title at the Edora Pool Ice Center in Fort Collins. Newell is optimistic that his squad can prevail.
"We're trying not to be overconfident, and we still have a lot of work to do," Newell said. "We know the competition is going to be really good. I just want every kid to have a personal-best performance, and I hope we set them up for it."
Air Academy's championships varied the past two years, as the Kadets nipped D'Evelyn 241-233.5 in 2012 and pulled away last year to defeat the same Denver-based Jaguars 324-239. D'Evelyn should be Air Academy's stiffest competition again.
"They are always in championship form at this meet," Newell said. "They have a great coach and have a great history of performing well at state. They held back their cards a little bit during the season, but I expect them to be jumping all over us."
On his preseason questionnaire, Newell listed "overconfidence" as a potential weakness for his team. Heading into this weekend's competition, the seventh-year coach is optimistic that his Kadets will be focused.
"They're typical high school boys, so their focus has been hit and miss," he said. "As far as their swimming ability, I've never been nervous about that. You've got to bring it together at the right time, and they're definitely aware of what's on the line and they're excited."
There were some internal questions the Kadets had heading into last weekend's Pikes Peak Athletic Conference league meet, but those were washed away. The Kadets swept all three relay events, including setting conference and pool records in two and a PPAC record in the third, and won four individual events.
In the wake of the league crown, senior Brennan Mays feels good about his team's chance at completing the trifecta.
"Before last weekend, it looked like it was going to be anyone's game at state," said Mays, who will swim at the Colorado School of Mines in Golden beginning this fall. "After last weekend, I'm feeling really confident, and I think it's going to be a lot of fun."
For Mays, who won the PPAC 500 freestyle title with a league record time of 4 minutes, 39.97 seconds, leaving Air Academy with three consecutive state championships would be a cherished accomplishment.
"It would be exciting and would be a great legacy to leave," he said.